Running as a form of sport and exercise has particular nutritional needs. To get the optimum results during performance and recovery post it, you need to be very well versed with not only what is it all that your body needs but also when do you need to supply your body with it. While most follow a well planned strategy to approach this, many grapple with guesswork and tend to fall short in places when it comes to nutrition and performance.
Here are the top-most commonly committed no-no’s that athletes, especially, endurance athletes like runners avoid when designing their diets and routine:
- Not taking in enough calories:
One of the big mistakes many runners make is not eating enough. Even if someone is trying to lose weight, does not mean that you reduce your overall caloric intake drastically. This will mess up with your performance big time. Not only will your metabolism get affected, but your weight loss may also go for a toss all in all, eventually showing the effects on your performance. If you run for more than 3 times a week, ensure that you workout your calories such that they do not place a very strict limit on your diet. You can approach your dietitian or trainer to help out with the same.
- Not focusing on the protein:
This is the biggest mistake a runner can make. The RDA for daily protein intake for basic level is at 0.8 gm. per kg of body weight; however this is more suitable for someone with a sedentary lifestyle as opposed to someone who exercises vigorously.
What runners need to understand is that their requirement goes much higher. The reason being, going on a long-distance will lead to exhaustion of calories as their primary source of fuel. When this happens, the body next uses protein for fuel, and when you do not replenish with the right amount of protein, it leads to muscle wastage with protein deficiency.
Aim for any where between 1-1.6 gm of protein per kg of body weight, to avoid muscle loss. This will keep you from going into a negative nitrogen balance and save up on your body’s muscle tissues.
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This is the third most common mistake that would be seen in most runners. While there are some who deprive themselves of calories, there are some who feel that eating without moderation is justifiable as they run.
This happens often when you overrate or miscalculate how much calories you are burning while running and underestimate how much food is actually being consumed. Moreover, they load up more on carb rich foods like breads, rice, granola bars, pasta, etc. This only adds on to the weight and fluctuates the energy levels. In such a case, it would be best to work up the macronutrient distribution wherein it would be more helpful to get in important calories from protein and healthy fat as well, rather than just from carbs.
So, whether you are a professional runner or like running as a hobby, do ensure that you stay away from these common errors as it not only affects your health but also weighs down on your performance front.